The HR Juggler

Day 9: Let The Light In

Posted on: December 9, 2011

Doug Shaw has always been one of my encouragers par excellence and a wonderfully prolific commenter on my blog and many others. He’s also one of the most engaging, inspiring, kind and authentic people that I know. So it gives me special pleasure to play host to his guest post reflecting on his highlights of 2011. I would urge you to find and follow Doug on Twitter (@dougshaw1) and to check out his own very excellent blog here.

I recently ran a guest blog series which wildly exceeded my expectations so I’ve jumped at the chance to reciprocate. I think experiments like this are a useful way of broadening your own horizons and a useful way of widening the readership of a blog. I stole the title for this post from Alison when she teed up the guest idea here.

For me 2011 has been about letting the light in, and being open to possibilities. I decided that a vital part of running my own business is the ability to seize chances to do different stuff. Now I pause briefly to reflect, these chances I’ve seized have helped shape a fascinating 2011.

I’ve sung and shared many songs. Protest songs, songs about work, and silly songs. A couple of months back I closed the Workplace Trends conference with Human Resource, a song co-written by Neil Usher. I enjoyed it enormously and afterwards Neil and I cabbed it across town to the ConnectingHR unconference, where we unveiled another collaboration and later a bunch of us had a big singalong.

I applied to be a part of the 2011 Merge Festival and was accepted. I recorded a version of Human Resource for the festival which was cut and exhibited as a 12” single in Ted Riederer’s Never Records art installation, cover artwork by yours truly. Ted was fabulous, kept me at ease as I recorded. I still look at my copy of the record and pinch myself. As part of this festival I also got to meet Arturo Vega, the creative director for punk pioneers The Ramones. I spent an afternoon watching him work and he kindly screen printed a top for me and Neil.

I spent a hugely enjoyable day with Kate, Barry, Ntathu and Glenn Le Santo on his boat, chugging up the Regent’s Park canal from Limehouse toCamden. The opportunity to do this popped up on Twitter and I just signed up. What a fabulous day of teamwork that was!

I’m teaching myself to paint. This experiment kicked into life with me sending one off hand painted post cards to friends while I was relaxing in the South of France. It’s continuing, and I hope to put a little more effort into it over the coming Christmas break.

There’s loads more. Growing my blog steadily through 2011, blogging from the CIPD conference, being a part of the ConnectingHR community, walking 12 miles to work (ouch!), and successfully pulling off a Stop Doing Dumb Things live event. Somehow in between all these things I’ve even found time to do fantastic work for fantastic customers, and to try to be a good Dad and husband and friend too.

I’m not going to pretend there haven’t been low moments and tough challenges and at the same time, it strikes me there’s more than enough bad news out there right now. I hope you can take something useful from this unashamedly upbeat look back.

Thanks Alison for this opportunity to reflect on a year less ordinary. Life’s what you make it. You and many others have played a hugely important part in 2011, and I can’t wait for next year to get under way. I wonder what opportunities your readers have seized and acted on in 2011?


5 Responses to "Day 9: Let The Light In"


I have always avoided guest blog posts but think what you have done is great so well done.

Doug has written what I consider a post that is truly reflective of him; one of the genuine nice guys in our industry with no apparent ego or points to prove. I am going to try and track down his song and listen to it; an inspiring feat to achieve such a thing. As a total non-music person if I were ever on desert island discs they would need to do a short version as I probably could not think up enough songs to last the programme allotted time! So maybe I will keep Doug’s in my fading memory bank just in case 🙂

BTW: I do of course enjoy your posts as well.


Thanks Peter – what a super comment, you’ve capped off a great useful fun week for me. Cheers! Doug

Thanks so much Peter. I am thrilled that the series of guest posts have been so fantastic in their own right and been so well received – I have also loved reading them 🙂

I am always amazed at how often Twitter and collaboration via social media can bring out the best in people…I’m not naive enough to think that this is always the case…but it is my experience through doing this Advent calendar of posts, most defiinitely.

And I’m a big fan of Doug’s too…and your good self too, of course!

As I have mentioned to you on Twitter, Alison, I am really enjoying your advent experiment. I find myself searching my timeline each day so that I can either read that day’s guest post, or at least ‘favourite’ it to read later. I have particularly liked the different styles of writing, and perspectives shared. This post is no exception, and truly is an uplifting read – we would expect nothing less from Doug 🙂

Looking forward to the rest of the month!

[…] In 2011 I scribbled about being open to possibilities. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 234 other followers

HR Juggler’s Archive

%d bloggers like this: